Somatic psychotherapy is based on the understanding that your mental, emotional and physical states are interconnected, and that emotional and mental changes affect your body, and vice-versa.
Issues that may lead you to seek the help of a psychotherapist include
- stress, anxiety and depression
- challenges at work or in relationships
- loss and grief
- separation and divorce
- low energy
- lack of enthusiasm
- recurring physical problems such as back pain and digestive difficulties, especially when these do not appear to have a physical cause
- a general feeling of dissatisfaction with one’s life.
Whilst somatic psychotherapy can be of great help with all the above difficulties, you do not have to have a problem to benefit from this approach. You can also benefit if you wish to have a more fulfilling and meaningful life, and a better relationship with yourself and others.
The terms counselling and psychotherapy are sometimes used interchangeably, others use the word psychotherapy to refer to a more in-depth process than counselling. There are also many different schools of psychotherapy and counselling.
The methods used vary from just talking sessions to sessions that include role-play, bodywork, visualisation, breathing techniques and other methods depending on the particular approach.
Some counsellors and psychotherapists have a predominantly theoretical training, others have trained more experientially. In my opinion a combination of experiential and theoretical training is ideal.
Some people use the term experiential to mean either being in the therapists role, or watching therapists at work. Others, including myself, use the term experiential to mean that the therapist has undergone therapy himself or herself.
Again some schools of therapy require the therapists to have undergone a substantial number of therapy sessions themselves, whereas others do not have that requirement.
I believe that it is important for a psychotherapist to have undergone a substantial amount of psychotherapy himself or herself.
In my initial training in London in somatic psychotherapy, we were required to undergo at least 150 hours of individual therapy sessions in addition to 2500 hours of group therapy, supervision and theoretical training over a period of four years.
Research has shown that the quality of the relationship between you and your therapist is at least as important, and often more important, than the particular school or method used.
Choosing a therapist is an important process and what suits one person may not suit another.
I suggest that, in addition to considering what method or methods appeal to you, you contact the therapist and have a chat to find out whether what you are looking for and what the practitioner is offering match up.
Donald Marmara created Core Development – a process of change and personal growth developed from his professional training and 35 years’ experience in somatic (body) psychotherapy, counselling and structural dynamics.
Core development adopts a flexible approach, recognising that what works for one person may not work for another.
He can be contacted on 02 9413 9794 or 0412 178 234.